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PLEASE NOTE: Michael D's is currently in READ ONLY MODE. Anything submitted will simply not be written to the database.
Lots of stuff is still broken, but at least reviews can now be looked up and read.
The Edge (1997)

The Edge (1997)

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Released 3-Oct-2001

Cover Art

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Thriller Featurette
Interviews-Cast & Crew
Theatrical Trailer
Biographies-Cast & Crew
Rating Rated M
Year Of Production 1997
Running Time 112:45
RSDL / Flipper RSDL (51:47) Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 2,4 Directed By Lee Tamahori

Twentieth Century Fox
Starring Anthony Hopkins
Alec Baldwin
Elle Macpherson
Case ?
RPI $36.95 Music Jerry Goldsmith

Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English Dolby Digital 5.1 (384Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 2.35:1
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio 2.35:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles Czech
English for the Hearing Impaired
Smoking Yes
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

NOTE: The Profanity Filter is ON. Turn it off here.

Plot Synopsis

    The Edge is a thinking man's action/survival movie: a deadly survival game in the wilderness that pits man against bear and man against man. Written by David Mamet (whose screenplay credits include The Verdict, Hoffa, Ronin and Hannibal amongst others) and directed by New Zealand born Lee Tamahori (Once Were Warriors, and rumoured to be the director for the next James Bond film - No. 20), I found this an interesting and engrossing film to watch.

    Charles Morse (Anthony Hopkins) is the sort of man other men love to envy - he is a billionaire who "owns a plane" and he is married to supermodel wife Mickey (Elle Macpherson). And yes, her name is Mickey Morse (get it?). As a result, he has developed a reclusive, suspicious and somewhat paranoid nature - he always thinks that other people are either after his money, his wife, or both. This film goes to show that just because you are paranoid doesn't mean other people aren't out to get you.

    He accompanies his wife on a photo shoot up in a remote mountain lakeside lodge up north (the blurb on the official film site says Alaska, but the film is actually shot in Canada). With them are fashion photographer Robert Green (Alex Baldwin) and his assistant Stephen (Harold Perrineau Jr.).

    Right away, you can tell how suspicious Charles is. In a funny scene, he thinks the plane mechanic is admiring his wife and it turns out the guy is actually admiring his plane. When Mickey and Robert exchanges looks during the photo shoot he start suspecting that they are having an affair.

    Another thing we learn about Charles is that he is a voracious book reader and has a photographic memory to boot - once he learns a fact he never forgets it. During this trip, we see him reading a book called "Surviving in the Wilderness" and this turns out to be very useful later on in the film.

    The lodge keeper John Styles (L.Q. Jones) warns the group that it is bear country and to beware of them. In the evening, the group throws a surprise birthday party for Charles, and he gets a few gifts (which also turn out to be very useful later on).

    The next day, photographer Bob becomes obsessed with the idea of photographing a Native American living about 80 miles from the lodge and Bob, Charles and Stephen decided to make a trip there by plane. They then find out the Indian has gone bear hunting about twenty miles further. However, on the way there, the plane runs into a flock of migrating birds and crashes into a lake, killing the pilot.

    The remaining three (Bob, Charles and Stephen) now have to undergo a survival ordeal - how to remain alive long enough to be rescued. Charles' knowledge gained from the book he had been reading turns out to be very useful and he tries to lead them out of the wilderness. Pretty soon they discover a man-hunting bear (Bart the Bear) is on their trail, and the action begins.

    Along the way, Charles increases his suspicions with regards to Bob and Mickey and begins to think Bob may even be plotting to kill him for his money and his wife. Thus we get two potential conflicts: man against nature as well as man against another man's treachery. Is Charles right, or is he simply being paranoid? Who will win?

    What I liked about this film was the juxtaposition between genre clichés and some genuine plot surprises. Survival stories tend to be somewhat formulaic, and this film doesn't vary too much from the rulebook. However, it also has some nice twists - the "nerd" ends up being more capable than the macho stud, and no one is either pure good or pure evil. And just because you want to kill someone doesn't mean you don't also try to save their life. And of course, the scenes featuring the rampaging bear are genuinely terrifying, especially on the big screen.

Don't wish to see plot synopses in the future? Change your configuration.

Transfer Quality


    This is a spectacular widescreen 16x9 enhanced transfer in the original aspect ratio of 2.35:1.

    The detail in the picturesque mountain scenery comes through in this transfer, and we get some gorgeous panoramic shots of mountain, lake and sky. The detail in the dense wilderness also comes through with brilliant fully saturated colours and excellent shadow detail.

    The film source is relatively clean and grain free. There are minor instances of artefacts such as aliasing and Gibb's effect, plus I can detect some slight edge enhancement being applied, but otherwise there are no issues with this transfer.

    There are several subtitle tracks on this disc, including English for the Hearing Impaired.

    This is a single sided dual layered disc (RSDL). The layer change occurs at 51.47 in Chapter 12 which is reasonably well placed as the screen pauses for a sub second on a close-up of Bob's face.

Video Ratings Summary
Shadow Detail
Film-To-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts


    There is only one audio track on this disc: English Dolby Digital 5.1 (384 Kb/s).

    Despite the use of the lower encoding bitrate, this is a fairly solid and full-bodied high quality audio track and I have no complaints whatsoever. It is just a tad soft (apart from the obligatory loud noises here and there) but does not impair dialogue clarity. I did not detect any audio synchronisation issues.

    There is reasonable use of the rear surround speakers but this is not an audio track where you are constantly being enveloped by sound as it is fairly dialogue-focused most of the time. The plane crash sequence from around 24:30-25:25 features very good distribution of sound throughout all speakers and good front to rear panning effects, and similarly the thunderstorm and rain from around 52:32 onwards sound very enveloping.

    The subwoofer is only very lightly used as this is not a very bass heavy audio track.

    The music by Jerry Goldsmith has a typical lush orchestral sound that fits an adventure tale such as this. Curiously, the ending titles sound somewhat jazzy.

Audio Ratings Summary
Audio Sync
Surround Channel Use


    The disc features a reasonable collection of extras, especially compared the bare bones Region 1 release. However, I wished the featurette was a little bit more substantial, as I definitely recall watching a "making of" documentary on TV that talked about how they filmed the bear scenes including the use of animatronics.


    The menu is static but features 16x9 enhancement.

Featurette (5:39)

    This is a fairly brief promotional featurette presented in full frame and Dolby Digital 2.0. It features behind the scenes footage and excerpts from the film (presented in 1.85:1 letterboxed) together with brief interviews with:

Cast & Crew Interviews

    This is a collection of "soundbites" (edited video interviews with the interviewer questions deleted). All interviews are presented in full frame and Dolby Digital 2.0 and the featurette appears to have taken some of its content from this material. The soundbites include:

Theatrical Trailer (2:21)

    This is presented widescreen letterboxed (non 16x9-enhanced) with an aspect ratio of approximately 1.66:1 and Dolby Digital 2.0. Although the surround flag has not been turned on for the trailer, engaging the Dolby Pro Logic decoder reveals that the audio track probably is surround-encoded as the rear channels are reasonably utilised.

Biographies-Cast & Crew

    This is a set of 16x9 enhanced stills containing biographies, mug shots and filmographies of:

    Note: the on-screen instructions says use the fast forward and rewind buttons on the DVD player to navigate between stills, but on both my DVD player and on my PC, I found out I had to use the chapter skip buttons and not the fast forward/rewind buttons.

R4 vs R1

NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.

    The Region 4 version of this disc misses out on;

    The Region 1 version of this disc misses out on;

    The clear winner is Region 4 (woo hoo!).


    The Edge is a fairly watchable adventure/survival story about man vs bear and man vs man. It is presented on a DVD with excellent video and audio transfers, and a reasonable collection of extras, compared to the bare-bones non-16x9 enhanced Region 1 release.

Ratings (out of 5)


© Christine Tham (read my biography)
Sunday, October 14, 2001
Review Equipment
DVDPioneer DV-626D, using Component output
DisplaySony VPL-VW10HT LCD Projector, ScreenTechnics 16x9 matte white screen (254cm). Calibrated with Video Essentials. This display device is 16x9 capable.
Audio DecoderBuilt in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with Video Essentials.
AmplificationDenon AVR-3300
SpeakersFront and rears: B&W CDM7NT; centre: B&W CDMCNT; subwoofer: B&W ASW2500

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